New Year Special: Celebrated HR concepts under scanner in 2016


Last year, performance management had to adapt to dramatically changed worldviews. It is expected that many such HR concepts will come under scanner this year. Read to find out more.

The year 2015 was marked by exciting developments in the space of HR. Many of these were foundational developments and have set the tone for 2016. These included experimentation around performance management, understanding ramifications of SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud), accounting for the millennial population, powering HR and exploring newer ways of working. While these concepts get more defined, it is expected that many celebrated HR concepts may come under the scanner, just like performance management did, to adapt to dramatically changed worldviews.

Performance management to performance excellence
While most organisations began their experimentation journey in 2015; 2016 may finally see the new ideal emerge. This could take the form of a suite of models – fit to suit the shape and stage of a particular organisation. A sync between academic and organisational research can play a particularly important role in creating a refreshed performance management ideal.

Celebrated legacy systems to celebrating the new in HR
With greater awareness that HR practices that have continued for time immemorial may not be most appropriate and with a nudge from performance management; 2016 may see the development of certain legacy systems from a blank state. Think – changed succession management frameworks to adapt to shorter careers, value-adding fluid organisational structures, increased assimilation of teamwork as a concept into HR and integrated learning & development alongside changed views on competencies.

Organisational careers to personal journeys – catching a boomerang
The millennial generation thinks very differently about their careers. A survey for the London Business School found that on starting a new role, 40 per cent were already planning their next move. Organisations will re-think retention; as keeping the door open for former high performers to return will become important. Rather than trying to encourage their employees to stay, organisations will adapt to keep up with this job-hopping generation.

Traditional interaction to gamification
Gamification still remains a largely niche concept that has not fully been recognised in the mainstream; despite the growth of a digitally native workforce. Every aspect of people management can potentially be gami-fied. For example, in performance management by introducing leader boards, points and badges related to specific desired behaviour; in recruitment where candidates are able to experience what life is like in an organisation by participating in a simulation; and in training, where games and simulations are often far more effective than traditional classroom training.

Service to entrepreneurship
Organisations will increasingly adopt a more ownership-oriented culture, which would allow employees to “work for themselves.” While this is particularly certain for innovation sectors such as IT, it will also become increasingly essential for other industries as a means to engage highly skilled employees. Further, organisations are looking to crowdsourcing for bringing in entrepreneurs to take up short-term projects. This concept is an extension of the “learning organisation” model where organisations continually are in the phase of revolutionary change to keep pace with external environments.

Technology to SMAC simplicity
Under the appearance of technology, there is now a tendency to lose sight of the bigger picture and evolve metrics for the sake of analysis. Simplicity implies consumerised technology through greater attention to aesthetic appeal, employee experience and logical data analysis. 2016 has a cloud forecast with applications that include intuitive interfaces offering website-like experiences and wearable technology.

HR view to evidence-based HR
Evidence-based people management is a philosophy that bases decisions on research; not just internal employee metrics and HR analytics, but also external research that has, for instance, recently challenged cherished people practices such as ratings or the business impact of engagement. It is not an isolated activity, but a mind-set change that goes beyond tracking information to actually uncovering key insights that fortify organisations. Through this futuristic approach, HR will have an opportunity, to demonstrate clearly, the link between people investment and financial indicators.

Employee initiatives to attentive-listening

Nishchae Suri

To lead a multigenerational and diverse workforce, where expectations differ vastly, attentive listening is important. This includes understanding personal engagement influencers, reading constantly shifting people trends, anticipating emerging opportunities, possessing the ability to identify meaningful signs and accommodating changed employee expectations. Lately organisations have started performing simplistic segmentation – millennials want this or people above 55 want that; which may not hold true. A more individualistic approach will go a long way in 2016.

Piece-meal HR to powered HR
A Powered HR is underlined by a ‘business first’ paradigm. This simply means that HR of the future will map to the business challenges defined by an organisation. A key component of the ‘business first’ paradigm is execution ability; and as a rule a Powered HR will align with values such as marketplace advantage, productivity and quality.

Organisational Goals to higher purpose
Recent studies have shown that today’s workforce would take a small pay cut to work for an organisation with an inspiring purpose. Statements such as “we shape history” or “we champion democracy”, if credible and applicable can make a significant difference. We also currently face a dilemma wherein, whilst multinational organisations are looking to develop standard global ethic to echo a uniform identity, they are also looking to contextualise to cultures. A higher purpose can help cultivate this global identity, much valued for the 2016-enterprise.

(The author is partner & head, people & change advisory, KPMG India)


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